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Budget: Cash for driverless and electric cars - but no mention of cycling

“Our future vehicles will be driverless, but they’ll be electric first,," says Philip Hammond ...

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond today repeated the government’s aim to make the UK a world leader in driverless cars – but said electric ones were the most important priority, with more than half a billion pounds allocated to them, including a £400 million charging infrastructure fund.

In his Budget speech at the House of Commons this afternoon, Hammond said of driverless vehicles: “I know Jeremy Clarkson doesn’t like them.

“But there are many other good reasons to pursue this technology, so today we step up our support for it.

“Our future vehicles will be driverless, but they’ll be electric first, and that’s a change that needs to come as soon as possible.

“So we’ll establish a new £400 million charging infrastructure fund, invest an extra £100 million in Plug-In-Car Grant, and £40 million in charging R&D.”

Returning to the subject of Clarkson, he added: “Sorry Jeremy, not the first time you've been snubbed by Hammond and May."

The government has promised to develop "the most advanced regulatory framework for driverless cars in the world."

Initially, it is believed that an amendment to the Road Traffic Act may permit manufacturers to test fully autonomous vehicles on the country’s roads, with approval given on a case-by-case basis.

Lord Adonis, the Labour peer and former Transport Secretary who is now chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, said investment was needed to make roads suitable for the cars of the future.

He said: “Once the preserve of sci-fi, the driverless car is now tantalisingly close and as companies spend billions developing these new vehicles, we need to turn our attention to the roads they appear on."

On Sunday, Hammond said that driverless cars would be on Britain’s roads by 2021, but confessed he had not ridden in one – something he planned to rectify on a visit to the West Midlands earlier this week.

However, according to the Daily Telegraph, the idea was vetoed by Number 10 due to the potential for the photo-opportunity to give rise to headlines about the government itself being ‘driverless’.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/20/philip-hammonds-plan-trip-dri...

In response to the Budget speech, leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn said the government was “investing in driverless cars after months of road-testing back seat driving in government.”

Unsurprisingly, there was no specific mention in the Budget of cycling.

Earlier this week, the Department for Transport announced a new £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund to create better links between city centres and suburban areas, though again, with no reference to the role cycling might play within that.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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35 comments

Avatar
PhilRuss | 6 years ago
0 likes

Am I locked out? And if so, why?

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earth | 6 years ago
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Although there is no direct award to cycling this will benefit indirectly because electric cars will not be producing local pollution and I dare say driverless cars will become safer than human drivers.

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oldstrath replied to earth | 6 years ago
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earth wrote:

Although there is no direct award to cycling this will benefit indirectly because electric cars will not be producing local pollution and I dare say driverless cars will become safer than human drivers.

You dare say it if you want. But it won't happen by magic or good intentions, because it will cost the companies. It will require regulation, well planned and strongly enforced. Just the things this shower are utterly uninterested in. So much simpler to accept a few deaths, get rid of cyclists, and take the money.

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kil0ran replied to oldstrath | 6 years ago
1 like
oldstrath wrote:
earth wrote:

Although there is no direct award to cycling this will benefit indirectly because electric cars will not be producing local pollution and I dare say driverless cars will become safer than human drivers.

You dare say it if you want. But it won't happen by magic or good intentions, because it will cost the companies. It will require regulation, well planned and strongly enforced. Just the things this shower are utterly uninterested in. So much simpler to accept a few deaths, get rid of cyclists, and take the money.

The only solution I can see is an EU-mandated safety firmware as part of type approval. That way each car can be engineered in the knowledge that all other AVs will respond identically to a given safety situation. Otherwise I can imagine a situation where manufacturers tune their AVs to match brand values (i.e. anything painted black from VW/Audi will be mandated to drive like an utter cockwomble around cyclists)

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brooksby replied to kil0ran | 6 years ago
1 like
kil0ran wrote:
oldstrath wrote:
earth wrote:

Although there is no direct award to cycling this will benefit indirectly because electric cars will not be producing local pollution and I dare say driverless cars will become safer than human drivers.

You dare say it if you want. But it won't happen by magic or good intentions, because it will cost the companies. It will require regulation, well planned and strongly enforced. Just the things this shower are utterly uninterested in. So much simpler to accept a few deaths, get rid of cyclists, and take the money.

The only solution I can see is an EU-mandated safety firmware as part of type approval. That way each car can be engineered in the knowledge that all other AVs will respond identically to a given safety situation. Otherwise I can imagine a situation where manufacturers tune their AVs to match brand values (i.e. anything painted black from VW/Audi will be mandated to drive like an utter cockwomble around cyclists)

 

What is this EU of which you speak?  Remember: by 2021 we'll be that little tax haven off the west coast of Europe which used to be very important on the world stage, historically...

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ironmancole | 6 years ago
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Sounds similar to the situation in the US back in the fifties/sixties? whereby a Ford model was knowingly sold as being dangerous but it was deemed economically better for Ford to pay off the damages resulting from death and injury than to recall the car and retro fix the underlying issues.

The motor industry therefore has prior form on putting cash before people making it a reasonable assumption to make that it will be the vulnerable road users around the new cash cows that are forced to pay the price.  I'm all up for removing the dangerous component from cars, the idiot behind the wheel, but surely any company knowingly putting a product on the public highway that doesn't have suitable algorhythms/strategies for dealing with anything other than another vehicle would be an en masse invitation for joint litigation?

Having said that we're dealing with a tory government here so I wouldn't be suprised at anything they get up to 'out the back with their elitist pals' and of course the Road Haulage Industry bigwigs.

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PRSboy | 6 years ago
3 likes

I do find it distasteful that taxpayers are subsidising the purchase and running costs of £30k+ EVs.

What exactly is the obsession with driverless cars anyway?  Most cars have one occupant as far as I can see.

Would it not be better to spend the money on educating actual drivers not to drive into other people?

Judging by the laughable condition of roads round Oxfordshire, investment is sorely needed for cars now, let alone cars of the future.

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ConcordeCX replied to PRSboy | 6 years ago
1 like

[

quote=PRSboy]

I do find it distasteful that taxpayers are subsidising the purchase and running costs of £30k+ EVs.

What exactly is the obsession with driverless cars anyway?  Most cars have one occupant as far as I can see.

[/quote]

if the van, bus, taxi or lorry fleet you own doesn't have to pay any drivers you will make more profit. 

The logistics of delivering stuff change dramatically. Because the delivery vehicle no longer needs a human occupant you can stick it, along with others, on the back of a lorry, also driverless, for the trunk journey. For the last mile each of the vehicles drives itself to the drop-offs where the recipient unloads it, or it unloads a secure container itself. It's an Amazon locker on wheels.

If it's a taxi you no longer have a human driver, but can choose whichever extreme political views you want it to rant at you, although anti-cycling bigotry will remain compulsory.

Vans will be equipped with blonde-recognition software so they can shout "awright dahlin'!" automatically, to make sure the lucky ladies don't miss the experience.

For the rest of us, they will be safer, even if they're not perfectly safe. And with electric motors they will be cleaner.

They will reduce congestion in cities because there wil be fewer of them, and because they will operate in conjunction with other traffic and with the road infrastructure to optimise conditions, rather than competing for space.

There are a couple of downsides, as far as I can see. 

First, people love driving, when conditions are a vague approximation of the adverts, which is rarely. They won't want to lose this. They need a substitute. Cycling?

Second, job losses. A lot of drivers are going to be out of work and they can't all become baristas. We need to be able to deal with this. Rather than let the market take the profits while the rest of us pay the costs, we will need to tax the shit out of the corporations, Amazon etc. to deal with the consequences of all this. My view is that we need to be looking at universal basic incomes, à la Finland.

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brooksby | 6 years ago
4 likes

Isn't the problem with electric cars supposed to be that all that electricity still has to come from *somewhere*?  Some  commenters are already doing a Cassandra on our ability to power just the stuff we already have, without throwing electric cars into the mix...

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fukawitribe replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:

Isn't the problem with electric cars supposed to be that all that electricity still has to come from *somewhere*?  

Well don't know that it's a problem but, yes, it does mean that. Thing is that electricity can be generated in any number of ways, many of which are more sustainable and a number of which are starting to be possible at similar, or lower costs, than propellants derived from fossil fuels. Then there's the issue of the combustion products and so on.

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Simon E replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

Isn't the problem with electric cars supposed to be that all that electricity still has to come from *somewhere*?

It does, but so does the energy required to refine and transport fuel.

Robert Llewellyn demonstrates just how much of our electricity is used refining oil for fuel: https://youtu.be/854qFolHp4s?t=292 (the link should skip the review and jump to the start of the explanation).

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davel replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
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brooksby wrote:

Isn't the problem with electric cars supposed to be that all that electricity still has to come from *somewhere*?  Some  commenters are already doing a Cassandra on our ability to power just the stuff we already have, without throwing electric cars into the mix...

But electricity can be produced via numerous sources - even if some of them are currently inefficient. Getting a large proportion of cars onto electricity at least moves them onto that potential mix, and away from oil dependency.

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brooksby replied to davel | 6 years ago
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davel wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Isn't the problem with electric cars supposed to be that all that electricity still has to come from *somewhere*?  Some  commenters are already doing a Cassandra on our ability to power just the stuff we already have, without throwing electric cars into the mix...

But electricity can be produced via numerous sources - even if some of them are currently inefficient. Getting a large proportion of cars onto electricity at least moves them onto that potential mix, and away from oil dependency.

I don't disagree.  I'd just meant that we are closing traditional power stations at a greater rate than opening new ones (probably a good thing in the long run), doG alone knows when or if any new nuke stations will open, and there aren't enough wind farms (yet, but there still doesn't appear to be enough money in wind or solar to attract the government and their backers to start touting it big time...).

So, our requirement for power is increasing but our capacity to generate it is falling, and now we want to try and swap over to electric cars.

Er ... = "modern life is complex".

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Dnnnnnn replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
1 like

It is complex, and a bit chaotic, but if we want a greater electricity generation capacity, we can have it. Indeed we already have much more than we need a lot of the time - demand is very 'peaky'. But millions of EV batteries connected to a smarter grid would be incentivised to charge cheaply off-peak (e.g. overnight) and paid to feed-in when demand peaks. They're as much an opportunity as a threat to the system.

As for actual additional generating capacity, it mightn't be through new nuclear (which seems entirely uncertain) but renewables, gas (not perfect but cleaner than internal combustion vehicles), and - critically - demand-side measures (e.g.  incentivising major users to turn down demand at stress times) - are realistic. Generators will build plant if there is the demand for the electricity, especially if backed by government guarantees (the government already does this through 'Contracts for Difference' and capacity payments - they may just need to do more).

It'll be a bumpy road to get there but it's technically and politically possible.

 

brooksby wrote:
davel wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Isn't the problem with electric cars supposed to be that all that electricity still has to come from *somewhere*?  Some  commenters are already doing a Cassandra on our ability to power just the stuff we already have, without throwing electric cars into the mix...

But electricity can be produced via numerous sources - even if some of them are currently inefficient. Getting a large proportion of cars onto electricity at least moves them onto that potential mix, and away from oil dependency.

I don't disagree.  I'd just meant that we are closing traditional power stations at a greater rate than opening new ones (probably a good thing in the long run), doG alone knows when or if any new nuke stations will open, and there aren't enough wind farms (yet, but there still doesn't appear to be enough money in wind or solar to attract the government and their backers to start touting it big time...).

So, our requirement for power is increasing but our capacity to generate it is falling, and now we want to try and swap over to electric cars.

Er ... = "modern life is complex".

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frogg | 6 years ago
0 likes

"It would have a been a great idea to give either tax breaks or subsidies for electric bikes "

It won't be long , take my word, before ebikes have to be registered, insured and won't be allowed to speed above some limit. They will be highly regulated, just wait for the next accident involving one.

It' the same scam all over again, they just replace the motor with an electric one pretending it's greeeeeeen (and safe).  It's all about profits and taxes, taxes, taxes. The economic sphere and their political puppets (any one) have the same interests. If they did care as much about their citizens, there would be tens of thousands miles of cycle lanes. But no.

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rkemb replied to frogg | 6 years ago
2 likes
frogg wrote:

It won't be long , take my word, before ebikes have to be registered, insured and won't be allowed to speed above some limit. They will be highly regulated, just wait for the next accident involving one.

They already are regulated. In the EU, for use on-road, the motors cannot deliver more than 250W and must cut out above 25 km/h. More than that and they count as a motorcycle and fall under motor vehicle regulation.

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IanW1968 | 6 years ago
2 likes

Hahahhahaahahhahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahajhahajajahajhshahahahahahahhshahhshshahshhs #fuckyouplebs

#lookingaftertherich

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Jitensha Oni | 6 years ago
0 likes

Charity begins at home. Wonder how he’ll mitigate the massive backup every morning in his constituency, from here
https://goo.gl/maps/vJASyHdAW922
to (at least) here
https://goo.gl/maps/VNLmh8vnaXy
Bulldoze Weybridge maybe?
And SurreyCC tried to increase cycling share so hard…
https://goo.gl/maps/e8AyskCd7oJ2

 

 

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frogg | 6 years ago
0 likes

"Remember the Tory party exists to serve the rich and the corporations...." and why is the actual Mayor of London "backpedalling" on Cycle SuperHighways ? hmmm

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1961BikiE | 6 years ago
3 likes

Can I be sued if I opine that the chancellor will reap the benefits of the motor lobby for this? Directorship on the cards?
And on a related note; so now the country has a new white elephant to fund beside HS2! Good old austerity eh when there's money for nothing - unless it helps our buddies.

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frogg | 6 years ago
3 likes

"I think they first need to address the problem that driverless cars seem to have with cyclists - cyclists can't always be recognized as such, ..."

The problem will be solved easily, and pronto. Bicycles will be removed from the road and allowed only in the backcountry, for safety reasons of course !

Road space has to be cleared for electric and self driving cars, the next Gold rush for the car manufacturers ...

And the fun part of all this is that cycling will be painted by the media as unsecure, but not the driverless cars !!!!!

We can already sense the beginning of that transition

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carytb | 6 years ago
0 likes

It would have a been a great idea to give either tax breaks or subsidies for electric bikes

 

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don simon fbpe | 6 years ago
6 likes

He does realise that driverless and chauffeured are different, doesn't he?

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reliablemeatloaf | 6 years ago
4 likes

I think they first need to address the problem that driverless cars seem to have with cyclists - cyclists can't always be recognized as such, and the cars tend to drive dangerously around them. I may be cynical, but I suppose they will address this problem the way the software industry handles bugs - they will let the cars on the roads, and let consumers be the beta-testers, and find the bugs. Sure, cyclists are going to be KSI, but that is a small price for the industry to pay to work out the flaws. It's  probably cheaper to settle lawsuits than it is to do the R&D to iron out the problems before the cars take to the roads.

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fukawitribe replied to reliablemeatloaf | 6 years ago
0 likes
reliablemeatloaf wrote:

I think they first need to address the problem that driverless cars seem to have with cyclists - [...] the cars tend to drive dangerously around them.

Citation please, hadn't realised there was a detailed over-view available of that yet. Google seem to be having quite the opposite problem, at least with hipsters...  3

http://uk.businessinsider.com/google-self-driving-cars-get-confused-by-h...

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Lincolnshire Mamil replied to reliablemeatloaf | 6 years ago
0 likes
reliablemeatloaf wrote:

I think they first need to address the problem that driverless cars seem to have with cyclists - cyclists can't always be recognized as such, and the cars tend to drive dangerously around them. I may be cynical, but I suppose they will address this problem the way the software industry handles bugs - they will let the cars on the roads, and let consumers be the beta-testers, and find the bugs. Sure, cyclists are going to be KSI, but that is a small price for the industry to pay to work out the flaws. It's  probably cheaper to settle lawsuits than it is to do the R&D to iron out the problems before the cars take to the roads.

What’s KSI?

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nniff replied to Lincolnshire Mamil | 6 years ago
1 like

What’s KSI?

[/quote]

 

Killed or Seriously Injured

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Deeferdonk | 6 years ago
1 like

To be fair, there is 0% VAT on bike fuel (i.e cake)  1

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carytb replied to Deeferdonk | 6 years ago
2 likes
Deeferdonk wrote:

To be fair, there is 0% VAT on bike fuel (i.e cake)  1

Unfrtunately I think there is as cake is a luxury item. Biscuits however are deemed to be essential and therefore do not attract VAT. It's probable the small cake shop that may not be registered. I recall there was a big legal question some years ago "Is a Jaffa cake a cake or a biscuit m'lud?"

 

Avatar
Deeferdonk replied to carytb | 6 years ago
2 likes
carytb wrote:
Deeferdonk wrote:

To be fair, there is 0% VAT on bike fuel (i.e cake)  1

Unfrtunately I think there is as cake is a luxury item. Biscuits however are deemed to be essential and therefore do not attract VAT. It's probable the small cake shop that may not be registered. I recall there was a big legal question some years ago "Is a Jaffa cake a cake or a biscuit m'lud?"

 

If only there was some simple way on the internet to check your facts before incorrectly telling people they are wrong. "No VAT is charged on plain biscuits or cakes. But when a biscuit is covered in chocolate it becomes a luxury and standard rate VAT at 20% is added to the price. Mcvities, the market leaders for Jaffa Cakes added chocolate to the cake and tangy orange base, so classifying them as cakes, not biscuits"

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